Jaffe’s RankingsForLawyers team currently tracks more than 1,200 credible legal rankings. More than 1,200! When I came on board 10 years ago, we had vetted and were tracking 700 ranking opportunities. The increase since then averages approximately 50 new rankings every year. Legal marketers are well aware that staying on top of rankings can be a fulltime job and adds another level of stress.
So, what can you do to manage this overwhelming onslaught? When and how do you say no when an attorney asks to be nominated for yet another ranking? Which rankings are worth a firm’s investment of time and energy?
Many lawyers believe they should be nominated for any rankings that are available to them. By developing and maintaining a list of well-respected rankings, you will be better able to provide your colleagues with information that can help to justify your firm’s efforts. Here is a non-comprehensive list of rankings your firm should consider.
Chambers & Partners
Chambers & Partners is one of the best-researched legal rankings out there. Researchers use a two-pronged approach when vetting firms: a written submission where firms can highlight their strengths and provide examples of their work over the past year, and a list of references. While the written submission is important, the researchers rely heavily on the feedback they receive from clients and peers. Chambers allots several months to each practice area in each region to fully research and understand the firms practicing in a given area of law. In addition to the written submission and interviews, they draw from years of research when determining where an attorney will be ranked.
As a legal marketer, the drawback is the time it takes to complete the submission packet – by our estimation more than 35 hours. Organizing and collecting information throughout the year can help alleviate late-hour stress. However, the bonus of completing a comprehensive Chambers submission is that you can use this document as the source for many other submissions.
Legal 500 is another well-respected ranking in the U.S. The difference is that they rank firms only at the national level. Furthermore, Legal 500 does not rank individual attorneys; instead, they provide a list of “Leading Lawyers” and “Next Generation Lawyers.”
Legal 500 also uses also a multi-pronged research approach. Their research is based on feedback from clients, submissions from law firms and interviews with leading private practice lawyers.
Legal 500 is another lengthy submission, requesting information about the firm’s practice area, cases and results. A written submission can also take over 35 hours to complete; however, repurposing a Chambers submission will significantly reduce time on this effort.
The IFLR1000 is a guide to the world’s leading financial and corporate law firms and lawyers. IFLR publishes firm and lawyer rankings by practice area at the national level. It uses a multi-level approach to vetting firms based on transactional highlights provided in a written submission, peer feedback via an online lawyer feedback survey and client feedback via interviews.
The IFLR 1000 submission packet can be extensive, but a completed Chambers submission, along with supplemental information on new developments, will shorten the process.
Regional rankings should not be overlooked. These awards give firms the opportunity to highlight the great work that lawyers and staff are doing locally. A number of regional awards are worthwhile for firms to submit nominations.
When hiring outside counsel, companies look for an attorney or firm who can understand their industry and integrate seamlessly into their business. Legal marketers should consider rankings available from various industry groups or publications as a way to highlight appropriate experience.
These are but a few of the most well-respected rankings available to attorneys. Other rankings that could be considered are ALM publications, Best Lawyers, Lawdragon 500 Leading Lawyers in America, Law360 and Super Lawyers, to name a few.
For more information about the criteria you can use to evaluate a ranking, check out our past articles on the topic: “ How to Plan Your Legal Rankings Strategy,” “Is this legal ranking worth it?” and “Rankings Overload: Which surveys are right for your firm?”
While it will take time to develop an understanding of how rankings are vetted, researching the value of these rankings will make it much easier to say no to completing submissions that offer little value. If you have any questions regarding your rankings strategy, or want help with organizing and preparing submissions, contact me, Susan Holmes, at firstname.lastname@example.org.